Thomas LeeBy Thomas Lee – PowerShell MVPMVP Logo

Thomas is a UK IT Pro, with over 40 year’s experience in the IT field. He’s presently a PowerShell MCP and is very busy doing writing, consulting and training around some of the key Microsoft technologies including PowerShell, Lync and Windows Server/client. In his spare time, he lives in a small cottage with wife, daughter, a nice wine cellar and a large collection of Grateful Dead live recordings.

Without doubt, 2012 is the year when YOU need to learn PowerShell. And if you already know something about PowerShell, then it’s a great time to learn even more! I know I say this a lot to everyone who will listen, but I really do believe that now is a great time to hone up your PowerShell skills. Let me tell you why and how you can do this.

We’re in that period between major product releases – Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 have shipped and is now being widely deployed. Of course not everyone is using the latest, but lots of firms are or are planning to in the near future. You might be one of them, and using PowerShell will help you in deploying and managing these two products.

The next major OS product release will not happen until the end of this year (plus or minus) when Microsoft are expected to ship Windows 8 (server and client). And with the new OS comes Office 15, including new versions of the Office productivity suite plus new versions of Exchange and Lync. The next versions of System Center (particularly System Center Virtual Machine Manager) will feature PowerShell too. What’s more – PowerShell is being adopted by third party vendors too – Firms such as Symantec, VMware and Cisco are all adopting PowerShell as their key management interface.

Windows, Exchange and Lync are based on the use of PowerShell. Each application comes with a GUI that provides some parts of the overall management interface. But to do it all, you will simply need to know PowerShell. With these new releases PowerShell becomes ever more pervasive across the application stacks.

So how do you learn or learn more about PowerShell? As is so often the case with PowerShell, you have options. As I see it there are two broad ways you can learn PowerShell – or any product for that matter. The first is via self-study – reading on your own, testing what you know by using the product then reading more, etc. The second is to attend a training course.

Self-study is the way most of the more advanced folks learn – they are often learning the product while the product is still being developed, long before there are any training courses. The self-study option is certain a possible one – there is a mountain of introductory, intermediate and advanced material just a search engine query away. I use Twitter to search for anything related to PowerShell to find at least some of the better on-line resources and I use my search engine to find more about specific topics.

As for training, here you have a raft of different types of training. A good place to start is with Microsoft’s Official Curriculum course 10325A. This is a great course, but I’m biased as I was the Tech editor and I teach this around Europe! This 5 day class provides a good introduction to PowerShell itself and to the cmdlets found in Windows Server 2008 R2.

If you want a shorter course, I run a variety of beginner through to advanced courses, including a 2 day weekend PowerShell PowerCamp. The PowerCamp covers as much as the 5 day class would, but in two very intensive (and modestly priced) days. The next PowerCamp is being held on April 21-22 at Microsoft’s Cardinal Place offices in London Victoria. We’ll be covering the basics of PowerShell and I’ll be including more on PowerShell 3.

If Hands-on training is not your thing, then there are a number of video options. Train Signal has a series of PowerShell videos, for example. And Plural sight currently has a couple of video courses with more in production (I’m the author of one and am currently writing a second). Video learning can be a great way for novices to supplement their existing knowledge as well as for folks new to PowerShell.

What ever approach you take, it’s time to get to grips with PowerShell and take your IT Pro skills to a new level.

Useful Links:

Scripting Center

Download Windows PowerShell 2.0

Windows PowerShell Quick Reference

Windows PowerShell Script Repository

Script Center Library